Diary: Bookies get behind Pippa

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The Independent Online

After dipping a tentative toe yesterday into the "Arse-Gate" furore that erupted following game old girl Carol Vorderman's surprise triumph at the Rear of the Year awards this week, I had hoped that the matter would now be closed.

Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. With critics already crying foul after hot favourite Pippa Middleton was denied her "rightful crown", now a couple of the nation's leading bookmakers have waded in, announcing they are refunding all losing bets placed on her before Wednesday's now officially controversial result. "Pippa winning the 2011 Rear of the Year was a greater certainty than Usain Bolt winning a one-man race," calmly suggests a spokesman for Paddy Power.

Meanwhile, suspicious folk over at William Hill point out that Carol was a "50-1 outsider" prior to her shock win. "How can Pippa's 230,000 arse-appreciation followers be wrong?" they add. Clearly this is one scandal that won't be going away soon – although judging by the frankly lecherous feedback I received from certain readers after yesterday's report, it's only fair to acknowledge that Carol certainly has plenty of fans among you.

* "Needless to say... I had the last laugh," frequently declared one Alan Partridge in his long forgotten memoir Bouncing Back. Now fellow national treasure Piers Morgan is proudly singing from a similar hymn sheet, gleefully informing his detractors that he's actually doing bloody brilliantly in America thank you very much, and that anyone who suggests otherwise is a pathetic, jealous idiot! For those of you not lucky enough to have witnessed his ongoing "banter" with the increasingly infirm Lord Sugar on Twitter in recent months, I should quickly recap. While "Shugs" points out that he's been really, really, rich for a long time, he also reckons cocky Piers is going to fall flat on his face very soon. Then comes the twist, because Piers isn't going to take this nonsense lying down. He tells us that not only is Lord Sugar really, really ancient, but that his television career is a damn sight bigger than anything Siralan could ever dream of! Just yesterday he proudly announced: "350 million peak (global estimated) for CNN show last night – Lord Sugar 8.2 million." With facts like that, I don't think anyone can doubt what a class act Piers truly is.

* Tory headbanger David Davies has long struck me as a man potentially worth worrying about. (No, not David Davis, I'm talking about the other Conservative MP most people haven't heard of). Davies, among other things a keen amateur boxer, has caused a stir in the Welsh press after volunteering to spar with young ruffians in his Monmouth constituency in order to knock them into shape. Still, I don't doubt that a life in the ring might have saved the excitable David from potential trouble elsewhere. As local deputy headmaster Andy Williams movingly tells the Western Mail: "There is no doubt in my mind that he would have ended up in prison if his aggression had not been diverted into boxing." Such is my admiration of Davies's often misunderstood talents, I only subsequently realised Mr Williams was in fact talking about a troublesome former pupil rather than his eccentric local MP by this stage of the article.

* With his tabloid enemies circling once more, it's been yet another trying week for Justice Secretary Ken Clarke. What with Dave (PM) having been obliged to tear up daft old Uncle Ken's plans to reform prison sentences, not to mention the recent pickle he got himself into over the rape laws, critics are keen to suggest that it's time for Clarke to take a bow and head for the beer gardens of his native Nottinghamshire at the earliest opportunity. Ken's allies defiantly point out that their man is "long beyond having sleepless nights" about his political future. Indeed, they tell me that Ken has already privately assured friends that it "won't be a traumatic moment in his life" should he get the chop.

* Following my report yesterday concerning our Prime Minister's latest running exploits with top trainer Matt Roberts, it seems his long-serving parliamentary private secretary – and one time jogging partner – Desmond Swayne has been rather frozen out. Still, Swayne's athletic reputation never quite recovered from strong rumours he always felt obliged to let the ultra-competitive Dave win whenever they raced.